Oh my field boy who smells like wheat and kite string. Freckles on your shoulders. I love the way your finger bends and the way your hair turns up on the ends. You have ended up in so many plays and so many songs, my first steady. I can’t speak of you without inside stories. One of my dearest and longest standing friends. The river of many roses is flooding all my thoughts. She’s an earth bound beauty with her hair tied up in knots. You are there, in that valley of home, sitting quiet and dumbstruck. Shadows on your ribs. How did they get fractured? Something has been giving you a sound beating on the inside. Why this violence on a man so gentle? How dare it. How dare it. I know you are surrounded by friends and family and a beloved nurse with benefits. And I am so grateful for them all.Royal attic guitar 1990

You write me a love note that sounds far too much like good-bye.


Royal, you are one of my essentials. I am not entirely sure who I am without you. And I am sure I am not alone.

So, no. I say no. I have seen too many miracles before.

You’re going to get through this. Test after test after test we will see who the enemy is. And it will be fought with prayer that comes with a kick in the teeth. A tooth for a rib. So take heart, dear Bez. Remember you are Royal and you are royal. A song for a sparrow. A quilt from the dead. A hard scrabble road. A trusty pair of boots. Sun on snow. The surety of spring. A black dog named Blackie. Distant laughter ahead. A sure step.

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